The Woodward News

Features

May 25, 2012

Giving kids a reason to smile

Organization replacing some items lost in April 15 tornado

Woodward, Okla. — SHARON - An area organization wants to give children affected by the April 15 tornado a reason to smile.

Knowing how much many families lost during the tornado, the newly formed "Make a Child Smile" program seeks to help replace the children's beloved items that were stolen by the storm.

"To the children a toy, or a doll or even a blanket can be a precious and priceless part of their world," wrote Mike Habekott, in a letter explaining his reasons for creating the  "Make a Child Smile" program.

For 11-year-old Jerrett Coleman his priceless possession was an OU football signed by Sam Bradford, which was lost in the storm.

Although unable to get another OU ball signed by the star quarterback, "Make a Child Smile" was able to get another special ball, this time an NFL football from the Rams with Bradford's autograph.

Rhonda Story, "Make a Child Smile" board member, recently presented Jerrett with the new ball during a special presentation following an awards assembly at Sharon-Mutual Elementary School on Thursday.

Jerrett also lost a collection of Hot Wheels that was started for him when he was born so he also received a Hot Wheels track and new cars.

But Jerrett was just one of 7 children who were presented with special gifts Thursday morning.

His sister, Alyssa Coleman, 9, lost her ladybug collection in the tornado. Rhonda Story's parents, Jim and Jean Hasley of Enid stepped in to help. Alyssa was presented with a ladybug quilt with her name embroidered on it, a matching pillow sham and a teddy bear dressed as a ladybug.

Abbie Neill, 10, and her 5-year-old brother Ethen Neill also received gifts from the organization. Story said since Abbie loves to rollerblade, they got her a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads. She also received sidewalk chalk and a zebra bag to carry it all in.

With Ethen being a fan of "Cars" the movie, he received several "Cars" toys and a Nerf ball collection.

The Vaughn family also received gifts. Big sister Ariona, 7, got a fairy Barbie and sidewalk chalk. Her younger brothers Liam, 3, and Taten, 1, received monster trucks with trailers, mini cars and a Hot Wheels pop up tent to share.

While the children were surprised by and happy to accept the generous gifts, their parents were even more so.

"It is awesome," said Alicia Neill, mother of Abbie and Ethen.

Jerrett and Alyssa's mother Christal Coleman agreed, noting, "I didn't expect it."

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